Turkey's environment is characterized by forest and grassland ecosystems, many of which are shared with other neighboring countries along the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and in the Baltic region. The country has wide range biomes which include the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands, and the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub. Within these biomes, rich and diverse ecoregions arise to give Turkey its vegetative characteristics and the diverse fauna. Northern Anatolia has the temperate coniferous forests.
Balkan Mixed Forests
The Balkan mixed forests ecoregion experiences a Koppen humid subtropical and humid warm summer continental climate. Some areas have relatively high rainfall and are said to have a temperate rainforest relict. The mixed forests of Balkans have deciduous oaks dominating most of the areas. In the upper reliefs, European beech and conifers, such Scots pines and Silver firs, grow. Alpine tundra vegetation also grows in the highest peaks.
Caucasus Mixed Forests
The Caucasus mixed forests contain a mixture of plant and animal species that roam much of Europe. The Caucasian, black grouse has its home predominantly in the region. Predators such as wolves bear, Asian leopard also live here. The mountain ranges falling to the Black Sea provides a habitat for the massive range of flora and fauna. The forests contain more that 1500 endemic plant species and two wetlands in Colchida which are necessary for waterfowls and wetland species. These ecosystems are usually protected from human encroachment save the endangered biodiversity. The Caucasian tur is a large thick goat featured in these forests.Human activities and forests mismanagement pose a threat to the sustainability of the ecosystem. Tree felling and planting of alien species disrupt the ecosystem. However, there is measure underway to regulate, control and protect these threatened biomes and ecosystems.
Central Anatolian Deciduous Forests
The region provides a home to such migratory birds as avocets and cranes. The lakes and ponds form habitats and breeding grounds for waterfowl such as the White pelican. The region is characterized by high plateaus and mountains and the rugged landscape is dotted with brilliant Turkey oak trees during fall giving the land a characteristic yellow look. The ecoregion provide a home for such animals as the marbled polecat, the mountain meadows, and the Turkish chamois. The region experiences a Koppen climate.
Northern Anatolia Conifer and Deciduous Forests
These ecosystems occupy the northwestern regions of Turkey, and have warm summers and cool winters with adequate rainfall. Coniferous forests and evergreen conifers predominate most of the areas but in particular areas, there is a mixture of the conifers and the broadleaf deciduous trees. The moist conditions of the forests support an undergrowth of mosses, shrubs, and ferns. These forests sustain high levels of biodiversity. The primary trees are coast redwood, Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, and Kauri. The Northern Anatolian conifer and deciduous forests is an important bird area as it provides critical habitats for the Dalmatian pelican, black stork, and purple heron.
Eastern Anatolian Montane Steppe
The ecoregion is in a temperate grassland, savanna, and shrubland biome. The area experiences a Koppen climate with warm, dry summers and snowy winters. The rugged ecoregion has two large salt lakes which have an ecological importance as they are breeding grounds for birds. The ecoregion has a diverse flora, notably including such fruits as grapes and wild pears alongside nut trees. Mammals, such as the Striped hyenas and Marbled polecats, birds, including the Golden eagle and Peregrine falcon, and reptiles, such as Armenian vipers, inhabit these regions. Agriculture and industrial development have degraded the ecosystem, and there is a need for more reserves to protect the diverse habitats and some species are almost extinct. Swamps in the region have been transformed into agricultural land. Turkey has no protective areas within the ecoregion.
The Aegean and Western Turkey Sclerophyllous and Mixed Forests
These forests located along the western coast of Turkey have Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and shrubs. They are characterized by dry summers and rainy winters. The vegetation types range from savannahs to forests, woodlands, and shrublands. Much of the woody vegetation is sclerophyll, meaning "hard-leaved", and hence the name of the woods. The forest vegetation is mostly broadleaf trees such as oaks mixed with sclerophyllous and coniferous trees.
Other Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Shrublands
The Eastern Mediterranean conifer sclerophyllous broadleaf forest is an important breeding ground for such threatened species of turtles as the Loggerhead turtle and Green turtle. Birds and mammals also inhabit the area. These Mediterranean forests woodlands and scrub offer unique species of brown bears, gray wolves, lynx, and the endangered Anatolian leopard. Firs and Oaks are the dominant trees in the forests and woodlands. Overgrazing, careless exploitation of wild plants, poaching, mismanagement of the forests and increasing tourism pose a threat to these ecoregions. The biodiversity is slowly decreasing and the climate of the area change due to human activities and some plants and animal species face extinction.
What are the Ecological Regions of Turkey?
Some of the ecological regions of Turkey include the Balkan mixed forests, the Caucasus mixed forests, and the Zagros Mountains Forest Steppe.
Ecological Regions Of Turkey
|Rank||Ecoregions in Turkey||Terrestrial Biome|
|1||Balkan Mixed Forests||Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests|
|2||Caucasus Mixed Forests||Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests|
|3||Central Anatolian Deciduous Forests||Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests|
|4||Eastern Anatolian Deciduous Forests||Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests|
|5||Euxine-Colchic Deciduous Forests||Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests|
|6||Zagros Mountains Forest Steppe||Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests|
|7||Northern Anatolian Conifer and Deciduous Forests||Temperate Coniferous Forests|
|8||Central Anatolian Steppe||Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands|
|9||Eastern Anatolian Montane Steppe||Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands|
|10||Aegean and Western Turkey Sclerophyllous and Mixed Forests||Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub|
|11||Anatolian Conifer and Deciduous Mixed Forests||Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub|
|12||Eastern Mediterranean Conifer-Sclerophyllous-Broadleaf Forests||Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub|
|13||Southern Anatolian Montane Conifer and Deciduous Forests||Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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